Camp Academia is an educational consulting firm that believes that all childrens' learning experiences can be enriched. A student's parent recently stated, "Camp Academia has turned our years of tears of frustration into tears of joy." This is our goal for all of our students. By integrating the latest in neuro-scientific research and computer technology with individualized instruction, Camp Academia challenges students to reach for the stars as they become lifelong learners.
By toning and building students' processing deficits before learning, building team support at camp, employing motivational sessions and teaching students effective learning techniques based upon individual learner's processing strengths, we enable our students to succeed far greater than even our expectations in the academic arenas. We believe all students will achieve unprecedented academic success and simultaneously experience heightened self-esteem, accompanied by a greater appreciation for the wealth of knowledge they have at their fingertips. Camp Academia truly stands behind its motto, LEARNING JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT!
Camp Academia has four primary programs designed to help your child achieve his or her potential:
- Consultation / Testing Services– Full evaluation of your child’s strengths and weaknesses in learning utilizing both formal and informal methods and recommendations for charting their educational path
- Brainjogging– Camp Academia’s research-based learning tool is designed to enhance learning efficiency and proficiency by “exercising” weak areas of the brain
- Camps– Three-day residential camps and Summer Booster Sessions are designed to evaluate and prepare your child for the upcoming school year
About our Founder
In 1978, as a learning disability resource teacher, Shirley began her 30 year quest for better teaching solutions for her students. Influenced by Emory University's Yerke's Primate Center's research, which utilized the application of computer technology to facilitate language in primates, Shirley unwittingly uncovered the critical components for groundbreaking solutions necessary to enable children with learning disabilities to achieve academic success.
In June 1987, with only six students, Shirley held her first "Camp Academia" in the basement of her home. Lack of money and exposure were big obstacles for her start-up enterprise: students took turns using one computer to utilize Shirley’s techniques; Shirley taught from a portable blackboard. The students showed rapid improvement. Students with A.D.H.D. and dyslexia showed marked improvement in attention and reading ability. In a few short weeks, struggling students' teachers sent messages, "Tell Dr. Pennebaker that your child's medication dosage is now perfect!"While Shirley isn’t currently and wasn’t formerly a doctor, her techniques were so effective in treating learning disabilities that teachers mistook the success for the effects of medication!
In 1990, when Shirley's five year old daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia, she applied her new methodology and was astounded by the results. Spurred on by her daughter's rapid improvement, Shirley started a new business that would spread her methodology to the wider community of students with special needs.
Shirley moved 65 miles south of Atlanta to LaGrange, Georgia. Struggling in a much smaller environment, she set out to find a creative way to continue to serve her students. Shirley established “Academic Reserves,” weekend overnight sessions, at the Courtyard Marriott in Atlanta. She maintained a low overhead by driving to Atlanta on Friday mornings to evaluate new students in her hotel room. Parent conferences were held in the hotel restaurant and Shirley held all-day Saturday classes in the conference room. Many of Shirley’s students with learning disabilities began achieving A/B Honor Role; this continues to be the case today.
Shirley continued working with students, constantly implementing new discoveries. Ultimately, Shirley and her son created a groundbreaking software program known as Brainjogging.
Due to her unprecedented success with Brainjogging, Shirley was nominated for the 2005 Woman of the Year in Technology for small/medium business. Women in Technology, the leading association devoted to the development of Georgia's businesswomen in the technology industry, is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the advancement of women in the field of technology. The association is a founding society of the Technology Association of Georgia, an umbrella member organization that serves more than 5,000 members of the Georgia technology community.
Shirley's goal is to improve 100% of her students. The grandfather of a five year old student from New Zealand said his greatest joy was seeing his grandson begin to recognize and play with his nine year old sister. Shirley says, "There is nothing more rewarding than bringing hopeful results to families."